Thursday, March 25, 2010

More on mindfulness meditation and emotional muscle

A reader of Monday's post asked if I could post abstracts from the special issue (on Mindfulness meditation) of the journal Emotion mentioned in that post. I thought the abstracts were open access, but apparently they are not. Here I pass on a PDF of the introductory article by Williams that summarizes the contributions (Mindfulness and psychological process. Williams, J. Mark G.; Emotion, Vol 10(1), Feb, 2010. pp. 1-7.)

Below I show the table of contents and a few abstracts from the issue (email me if you have further requests).

Empirical explorations of mindfulness: Conceptual and methodological conundrums. Davidson, Richard J.; Emotion, Vol 10(1), Feb, 2010. pp. 8-11.
[Research on mindfulness is entering a new era and coming into the mainstream. The group of articles in this Special Issue exemplifies research on the impact of mindfulness on, or the relation between mindfulness and, different components of emotion processing and emotion regulation. Affective processes are a key target of contemplative interventions. The long-term consequences of most contemplative traditions include a transformation of trait affect. After all, if change was not enduring and did not impact everyday life, it would be of little utility. This brief commentary highlights several important conceptual and methodological issues that are central to research on mindfulness, particularly as it is applied to transforming emotion. The term “mindfulness” has been used to refer to an extraordinarily wide range of phenomena in this group of articles, ranging from mindfulness as a state, to mindfulness as a trait and finally mindfulness as an independent variable, that is, something this is manipulated in an experiment. It is imperative that we always qualify our use of this term by the methods we use to operationalize the construct. The measurement of mindfulness and the duration of its training, and the development of adequate comparison conditions against which to compare mindfulness training remain as important issues for further study. Moreover additional research attention on the potential targets within the emotion domain of contemplative practices is required. Great progress has been in this research area and we have much to look forward in the future.]

Dispositional mindfulness and depressive symptomatology: Correlations with limbic and self-referential neural activity during rest. Way, Baldwin M.; Creswell, J. David; Eisenberger, Naomi I.; Lieberman, Matthew D.; Emotion, Vol 10(1), Feb, 2010. pp. 12-24.  
[ To better understand the relationship between mindfulness and depression, we studied normal young adults (n = 27) who completed measures of dispositional mindfulness and depressive symptomatology, which were then correlated with (a) rest: resting neural activity during passive viewing of a fixation cross, relative to a simple goal-directed task (shape-matching); and (b) reactivity: neural reactivity during viewing of negative emotional faces, relative to the same shape-matching task. Dispositional mindfulness was negatively correlated with resting activity in self-referential processing areas, whereas depressive symptomatology was positively correlated with resting activity in similar areas. In addition, dispositional mindfulness was negatively correlated with resting activity in the amygdala, bilaterally, whereas depressive symptomatology was positively correlated with activity in the right amygdala. Similarly, when viewing emotional faces, amygdala reactivity was positively correlated with depressive symptomatology and negatively correlated with dispositional mindfulness, an effect that was largely attributable to differences in resting activity. These findings indicate that mindfulness is associated with intrinsic neural activity and that changes in resting amygdala activity could be a potential mechanism by which mindfulness-based depression treatments elicit therapeutic improvement....dispositional mindfulness and depressive symptomatology show opposite relationships with resting activity in the right amygdala, indicating that this may be a potential mechanism linking mindfulness-based treatments with reductions in depressed mood and relapse risk. That resting state activity differences largely explained the differences in emotional reactivity underscores the importance of understanding intrinsic activity within the brain. Perhaps it is fitting that mindfulness, a practice focused on observant contemplation rather than action, is associated with neural activity when an individual is just “being” rather than “doing.”]

Minding one’s emotions: Mindfulness training alters the neural expression of sadness. Farb, Norman A. S.; Anderson, Adam K.; Mayberg, Helen; Bean, Jim; McKeon, Deborah; Segal, Zindel V.; Emotion, Vol 10(1), Feb, 2010. pp. 25-33.
[Recovery from emotional challenge and increased tolerance of negative affect are both hallmarks of mental health. Mindfulness training (MT) has been shown to facilitate these outcomes, yet little is known about its mechanisms of action. The present study employed functional MRI (fMRI) to compare neural reactivity to sadness provocation in participants completing 8 weeks of MT and waitlisted controls. Sadness resulted in widespread recruitment of regions associated with self-referential processes along the cortical midline. Despite equivalent self-reported sadness, MT participants demonstrated a distinct neural response, with greater right-lateralized recruitment, including visceral and somatosensory areas associated with body sensation. The greater somatic recruitment observed in the MT group during evoked sadness was associated with decreased depression scores. Restoring balance between affective and sensory neural networks—supporting conceptual and body based representations of emotion—could be one path through which mindfulness reduces vulnerability to dysphoric reactivity.]

Effects of mindfulness on meta-awareness and specificity of describing prodromal symptoms in suicidal depression. Hargus, Emily; Crane, Catherine; Barnhofer, Thorsten; Williams, J. Mark G.; Emotion, Vol 10(1), Feb, 2010. pp. 34-42.
Cortical thickness and pain sensitivity in zen meditators. Grant, Joshua A.; Courtemanche, Jérôme; Duerden, Emma G.; Duncan, Gary H.; Rainville, Pierre; Emotion, Vol 10(1), Feb, 2010. pp. 43-53.

Examining the protective effects of mindfulness training on working memory capacity and affective experience. Jha, Amishi P.; Stanley, Elizabeth A.; Kiyonaga, Anastasia; Wong, Ling; Gelfand, Lois; Emotion, Vol 10(1), Feb, 2010. pp. 54-64.
[...findings suggest that sufficient mindfulness training practice may protect against functional impairments associated with high-stress contexts. ]

Differential effects on pain intensity and unpleasantness of two meditation practices. Perlman, David M.; Salomons, Tim V.; Davidson, Richard J.; Lutz, Antoine; Emotion, Vol 10(1), Feb, 2010. pp. 65-71.

A preliminary investigation of the effects of experimentally induced mindfulness on emotional responding to film clips. Erisman, Shannon M.; Roemer, Lizabeth; Emotion, Vol 10(1), Feb, 2010. pp. 72-82.

Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on emotion regulation in social anxiety disorder. Goldin, Philippe R.; Gross, James J.; Emotion, Vol 10(1), Feb, 2010. pp. 83-91.

Expressive flexibility. Westphal, Maren; Seivert, Nicholas H.; Bonanno, George A.; Emotion, Vol 10(1), Feb, 2010. pp. 92-100.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! In our blog Scientific Mindfulness, we post a summary of the Grant et al. article from Emotion, tying it into some previous research on meditation and cortical thickness. If you're readers are interested, here's the link: